By the time Jim Farley takes over as the head of Ford Motor Co.'s operations in Europe starting Jan. 1, 2015, he will be bringing with him a lot of experience and learning he got when he was working for Toyota in the region. That was in 1997, when Farley was placed in charge of advance product planning for Europe.
He admitted that at the time, he doesn’t have a clue about dominant subcompact car segment – called B segment – in the region. He said that on his first stint in Europe, Toyota was completely importing Japanese models and does not have one exclusive product for the region. He remarked that he even know what the B segment was.
To educate himself, he documented virtually every model on sale in all the major markets in Europe, taking pictures and using a tape measure in the process. He said he learned homologation and the tax breaks for different engine displacements.
“I learned the hard way, and we built that product plan from the bottom up," he told Automotive News. This time around, he will be heading from being Ford’s executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service to president of Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa, effectively swapping roles with Stephen Odell.
He was chief of marketing at Ford for seven years, and he is “thrilled” in his shift to leading a regional business unit. Farley noted that he was in charge of Ford's operations in Canada, Mexico and South America for about 18 months in 2009-2010 while handling global marketing.